SUPPORT staff in three Glasgow universities will strike from today (Monday, September 18) in a dispute over pay.

More than 1000 UNISON members at Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art, as well as the University of Dundee, are taking action over a two-week period.

The union is holding a national strike day on Wednesday (September 20) with a midday rally at the Scottish Parliament. Rolling strike days will take place between September 18 and 28 across the four universities.

The Universities and College Employers Association (UCEA), which acts for the employers in the dispute, said its improved pay deal for 2023-24, worth between 5% and 8%, was the highest offer of its kind in nearly 20 years.

Raj Jethwa, UCEA’s chief executive said: “More than 140 Higher education institutions are represented by UCEA in pay talks at national level. It is disappointing that some UNISON members in a handful of these HEIs may choose to partake in this industrial action. Any disruption to any students in any of these institutions affected by industrial action will be extremely disappointing. 

“This year’s pay uplift of between five and eight percent prioritised the disproportionate effect of high inflation falling on the lower paid.

"Nearly half of the uplift was delivered six months early to address cost of living pressures."

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He added: "It is disappointing that strike action is going ahead in five universities this week, especially since UCU members have voted to end the marking and assessment boycott."

However, university staff voted to reject the deal earlier this year.

Chairperson of UNISON’s Scottish higher education committee Allison Buchanan, said: “This is yet another real-terms pay cut for university staff. The employer has imposed an early settlement on members without reaching agreement with the union. University staff play a crucial role in supporting students through university and they deserve better.

“UNISON has appealed to the Scottish government to help find a solution. The minister seems willing to allow the strikes to proceed rather than ensuring hard-working university staff are paid fairly. Employers must get back around the table, reopen negotiations and give university workers the fair pay they deserve.”

The rolling strikes will take place at Glasgow University on September 19, 20, 26, 27 and 28, at Glasgow School of Art on September 20, 27 and 28, and at Glasgow Caledonian University on September 18, 19, 20 and 21.

UCU (University and College Union) Scotland announced at the weekend its members would strike at Scottish universities this month, including Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities on September 18 and 19. The union has also announced plans to re-ballot members which will allow action to be taken throughout the rest of 2023 and into the new year.

UCU’s Scotland official, Mary Senior, said: "No-one wants to take strike action but the actions of the employers and UCEA mean that we are again beginning the start of a new academic term with industrial action.

"We desperately hope university principals realise that we are going nowhere without a fair settlement and make us a realistic offer. If they do not, as well as campuses being marred by picket lines during the start of term, we will look to continue action well into 2024."